ASHBURN, Va. – Albert Haynesworth finally passed the Washington Redskins conditioning test Saturday morning, ending a daily soap opera that had overshadowed the first week-and-a-half of training camp.
Haynesworth arrived early at Redskins Park and completed both 300-yard back-and-fourth shuttle runs in the required times — and with no controversial bathroom break.
Haynesworth's success came on the 10th day of camp, and it meant he would be allowed to put on pads with his teammates for the first time. Coach Mike Shanahan had said Haynesworth could not practice until passing the test, and the showdown was seen as a statement of a new coach's uncompromising authority that wouldn't bend even for a two-time All-Pro with a $100 million contract.
Haynesworth was the only Redskins player who had to take the test, a requirement because he was absent from the team's offseason conditioning program. He stayed away because he preferred to work with his own trainer and because he wanted to be traded, having made known his unhappiness with the team's switch to a 3-4 defense.
Haynesworth's absence from a mandatory minicamp in June riled many teammates — including some who openly called him "selfish" — and he will need to finish re-establishing any fractured locker room bonds as he returns from sideline exile.
Haynesworth failed the test on the first day of camp because he took an extended bathroom break after the first run. The two runs are supposed to be completed 3½ minutes apart, but Haynesworth was gone for 10 minutes.
He failed the test on the second day as well when he posted an inadequate time, then a sore knee hampered his efforts over the last week. He started the test Monday but stopped when the knee acted up, then didn't take the test for four straight days. The knee has bothered Haynesworth for several years, and an MRI taken Thursday showed no structural damage.
Haynesworth's will-he-or-won't-he became a national spectacle, and it became vogue for pundits, reporters and fans to attempt what has become known as the "Haynesworth conditioning test." A minor league baseball team in North Carolina has made it part of an upcoming promotion, offering season tickets for the rest of the year to anyone who can pass it.
To pass, Hayneworth had to complete the first run in 70 seconds or less, the second run in 73 seconds or less. Each run consists of 12 back-and-forth 25-yard sprints.
Haynesworth, meanwhile, had been reduced to standing to the side during practices, watching drills with a play sheet in his hand. He also has been staying after practice to walk through plays with assistant coaches to help him brush up on a defensive scheme he tried to avoid for so long.
Haynesworth shunned the 3-4 because he didn't want to play nose tackle, a position he felt wouldn't give him the freedom to make the plays that turned him into a defensive force over seven seasons with the Tennessee Titans. But Haynesworth showed up at camp looking perhaps 30 pounds lighter, making it easier for the Redskins to use him extensively at defensive end as well as nose tackle. The team also signed veteran nose tackle Ma'ake Kemoeatu, taking the pressure off Haynesworth to carry the load at that position.
Shanahan has said Haynesworth would start working with the backups after passing the test. Saturday's practice was scheduled for the afternoon as part of the team's annual Fan Appreciation Day.
Haynesworth signed a seven-year contract with $41 million in guaranteed money when he joined as a free agent with the Redskins last year, but he a disappointment in 2009 because of his fitness and performance. Several injuries frequently kept him from practicing during the season and caused him to miss four games.